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Sun powers railway station

The upgrade to Blackfriars will see the London rail station become an environmentally friendly marvel, incorporating the City’s biggest solar array.

The work on the station, part of an ambitious £5.5bn project to bring the Thameslink network into the 21st century, will use 4,400 solar panels to create an array that will produce 900.000 kWh of electricity a year.

The 6000 m2 array will generate enough renewable power to slash the station’s annual power bill by 50% and CO2 emissions by 511 tonnes when it is finished in mid 2012.

This sun-harvesting roof will mean that Blackfriars will become the world’s second solar bridge after the Kurilpa footbridge in Australia.

It will also mean that sun light that used to fall on the River Thames only to be washed down river into the sea can now be turned into electricity because the development will see Blackfriars becoming the first station to completely span the river using the foundations of the existing Victorian train bridge built in 1886.
Earning it the rather unique title of the world’s first solar train station bridge, other environmental measures such as sun pipes for natural lighting and rain harvesting systems which are also being built into the station, will further reduce the development’s carbon footprint.

The station roof concept is the brainchild of the alternative power project design company Solarcentury and the engineering company Jacobs and uses high performance solar panels made by Sanyo.

“Sanyo is very proud to have its HIT solar modules used in the redevelopment of Blackfriars Station,” said Shigeki Komatsu solar division director of Sanyo Component Europe. “The high efficiency of our solar modules makes them ideal for structures where maximum power generation is required from an area where load must be considered,”

“With our solar modules on this well known London landmark, Sanyo hopes to raise awareness and understanding of solar and other renewable energy technologies, demonstrating how they can both help the city environment and minimise the onset of climate change.”

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